Lessons from 9 years of marriage

An open letter to my husband of nine years: 

Dear Chad Austin Langhoff,

When I met you 14 years ago, it wasn't love at first sight for me like you have said it was for you (sorry to disappoint). After we got to know each other a little bit though, there was something about you that attracted me—you know, outside of your gorgeous blue eyes and dashing good looks. *wink, wink* I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but looking back, I know it was something almost magical that God was doing in my heart. He was drawing me to you for a purpose. I truly believe we were created to be together and I'll be forever grateful that God gave me you—that's the reason I said "I do" to you on the altar nine years ago today.

On February 2, 2008 I made the most important promise of my entire life. Remember those words we wrote together that I spoke aloud while holding your hands? "I promise before God and these witnesses to take you, Chad, to be my husband, to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, to be loyal to you in all circumstances, and to join with you so that we may serve God and others together as long as we both shall live." Well, I'm still alive, so here I am keeping that promise. Thank you for keeping yours, too.

When I spoke those words, I had no idea how incredibly challenging they would be to fulfill at later times. Honestly, sometimes I feel I have fallen short... Sharing everything is hard; I tend to be so selfish, whether we're talking about feelings, money or food on our plates. I enjoy receiving more than giving (especially in the back rub category). We both know I'm a talker—I apologize for not listening more regularly. I'll be the first to admit that often times our "inspire and respond" has a tendency to become competition that crosses the line from playful to unhealthy. I also did not realize how broad the phrase "in all circumstances" was until we experienced loss, differences in opinions, financial stress, job transitions, a move across the country, and sleepless nights with our now nine-month-old son. One thing I know for certain is that serving God and others by your side has been the joy of my life. God has called us to some "crazy" things in the eyes of others, but your boldness, dedication and willingness to follow His lead has inspired me time and time again. Thank you for being the real deal. I'd marry you again in a heartbeat!

In the nine years we've been married, I've learned how to love more deeply than I thought possible. I've learned to forgive even when it's hard. I've learned to celebrate even the smallest victories, communicate even my most complex feelings, and laugh at even my dumbest mistakes along the way—all because we're in it together. You've taught me how to relax, how to work hard, how to shoot a bow, how to distinguish which crops are growing in fields we drive by and even how to play Wrestlemania on the original Nintendo. Thank you for modeling the selfless, respectful, thoughtful, romantic and genuine love from a husband that I dreamt about as a young girl. 

You are my dream come true (only sexier). I love and appreciate you more every day. Happy anniversary, babe!

Your forever wife,


PS—the wedding photos in this post from the snow are some of my favorite of us ever. I can still remember the exact way I felt in those moments, seemingly floating on clouds as the luckiest girl on the planet.